Can I Use Student Loans to Pay for Trade School?

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Kristen Kuchar

By Kristen Kuchar

May 9, 2020

Student loans are used to pay for a college education and, once you graduate or leave school, you start making payments on what you borrowed, plus interest. But can you pay for trade school or vocational/technical school with student loans?

If you are looking for a student loan for professional training or a trade certificate at a non-degree-granting school or program, there are options.

Before you take out any student loans, be sure to exhaust all other resources first, including scholarships, grants and employer tuition assistance. If you need to use student loans, borrow responsibly by keeping costs as low as possible.

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are borrowed through the U.S. federal government. These student loans come with better perks than private student loans, including an option to have loans forgiven, payments based on your income, and options to pause payments during unemployment and economic hardship.

In order to get federal student loans for trade school, your trade school must be accredited and have signed a program participation agreement with the U.S. Department of Education.

You can use the U.S. Department of Education’s accreditation database to check if your school is accredited. You can also check the database of schools that are eligible for Title IV federal student aid. You can also call your school to find out if they are eligible.

Once you determine that your school is eligible, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA. The FAFSA helps you secure grants (money you don’t need to pay back) as well as these federal student loans.

Private Student Loans

If you need to take out private student loans, you’ll need to work with a lender that offers loans for trade school.

Sallie Mae, for example, offers career and trade student loans up to 100% of all school-certified expenses. This includes tuition, fees, books, housing, meals, travel, and a computer. You’ll need to pay for this loan while you are in school.

Wells Fargo and Citizens Bank also offer career loans.

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